2015: A Year of Adventures and Fun Wheels

Here’s 2014 in review.
 1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I started the year off eating collard greens and black eyed peas. This was a first for me, and let me tell you I will never tempt the New Year’s Day fates ever again. 2015 was one of the best years yet.
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I had a lot of other firsts, too. I rang in 2015 on the Queen Mary. I had a Disneyland Bucket List. I went to a taping of Dancing with the Stars. I watched Hocus Pocus and Breaking Bad. I went to D23 and Star Wars Celebration. I went to the Hollywood Bowl. Twice. I went to three movie previews. I moved in to my very own apartment without roommates. I made home-made donuts. I went to the Magic Castle. I ran a 10k.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t exactly have any resolutions, but I did tell someone early in the year that I wanted to run a 10k. He laughed at me and told me he didn’t think I could finish. I said some unladylike things to him, and promptly signed up for my first 10k. I crossed the finish line in November, a full 8 minutes faster than my goal.
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I’m already signed up for a half marathon in January. I’ve had chronic Achilles tendinitis for a while, that has turned in to knee/hip problems, and were all made worse after the 10k, so I’m not sure about that one. We’ll see!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES! My best friend since kindergarten had a girl in January.2015inReview2

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope! This was the first year in a long while I didn’t have to attend a funeral!

5. Where did you travel?
In March, I went to PAX East in Boston with Miellyn.
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South Street Diner: A PAX East tradition.

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Billionaire Banshee shenanigans. 

In May, I went to San Francisco with my new PAX friends.
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In August, I joined Miellyn in Seattle for PAX Prime.
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DFFs (Droid Friends Forever)

In October, I went back up to Seattle to meet a stranger, and help him move to LA. It was easily one of the craziest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the best decisions of my life.
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He took me on a helicopter tour of Seattle for our first date.

And in November, I went to Vegas with M, and we stayed out until the Sunrise and I totally felt like I was 21 again.
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Sunrise from the Strip. 

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?
2015 was a pretty great year, to be honest. I’d like to travel out of the country next year.

7. What days from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
June 1.
I moved in to my very first apartment without roommates.
October 10.
I flew to Seattle to essentially meet a stranger and help him drive to Los Angeles.
November 14. I completed my very first 10k.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Hanging my curtains. Seriously. It took 3 tries, lots of tears, and several bottles of wine before I could get those stupid pieces of fabric up on the walls. Huge thanks to Jessica for driving nearly 2 hours with a power drill and candy to get me through the task.
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These curtains were assholes. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don’t actually think I had any major failures this year. Every challenge that was thrown at me this year, I came through.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a pretty nasty cold for most of December (that’s still lingering ugh). Also, the aforementioned ankle/knee/hip thing that just won’t go away.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought my very first ever couch. It has a pull out bed, so let me know if you want to come visit!
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12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jessica Fox.
She spent the first few months of 2015 listening to me vent and cry as I recovered from 2014. She met me for breakfast and Fun Wheels and other Disneyland fun. She saved my sanity with my curtain debacle. She convinced me to take a really huge leap which led me to meet M. 2015 would have been a lot less fun with out her, and she’s the best.
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13. Whose behavior didn’t merit celebration?
Rob sent me more than one box of dirty dishes, so that was pretty shitty.

14. Where did most your money go?
My new apartment. It’s weird when you move in to a place by yourself for the very first time, and you discover all the things you never had because former roommates had everything you needed. Like a microwave. And an iron. And a couch.
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I still don’t have the iron.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I get excited about a lot of things, but the thing that was really the most exciting was meeting M in Seattle for the very first time. I was so nervous, my friend had to circle the airport a couple of times before I calmed down, and I had to have a Bloody Mary (or two) at the airport bar before I was calm enough to board the plane. Still the best decision I made in 2015.
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God bless Bloody Marys and friendly airport bartenders.

16. What songs will always remind you of 2015?
I don’t listen to a lot of new music, but Delirious came on my running station quite frequently, so I’d say that was a recurring theme in my training runs.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) better hair or worse hair? b) more organized or less organized? (This question used to be happy/sad, thin/fat, rich/poor, but A’dell switched it up, and I like these better, too.)
A. I haven’t changed my hair style in years. I’ve been growing it for 4 years, and it’s the longest it’s ever been. I go through phases of wanting a major change, but then I do a perfect fishtail braid, and can’t imagine changing it up at all. Eventually I’ll need to go shorter, but right now I just can’t decide.
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My hair is out of control.

B. I like to refer to it as “organized chaos”

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Travel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Laundry. Cleaning. Packing/unpacking (moving totally sucks).

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I went to Disneyland/DCA in the morning. I only stayed 4 hours, but I had a highly efficient day. I had peppermint beignets from New Orleans Square, rode Jingle Cruise, went on Radiator Springs Racers three times in a row (god bless the Single Rider line), picked up some last minute presents for friends, chatted with no less than three children about how awesome BB8 is, ran in to an old friend from my Disney days, and finished the day out with going on Soarin’ over California.
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Those Disneyland Candy Canes though…

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Season’s Speedings from Cars Land! 

21. Did you fall in love with 2015?
Sure. It was a pretty great year all around.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Mike discovered I had never seen Breaking Bad, and after we watched all of the episodes, I can say it definitely lives up to they hype! I also loved Agent Carter.

23. What was the best book you read?
I devoured Red Rising, and immediately followed up with Golden Son. Seriously, if you haven’t read them yet, stop what you’re doing now and go read them.

24. What was your greatest food discovery? (Last year this question was musical discovery, but I don’t listen to a lot of music, but I do eat a lot of food. So we’re going with this.)
Mike introduced me to black cod, calamari steak, and vegetarian shellfish-free ramen bowls.
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While I technically had my first Fun Wheel at the end of last year, I definitely had my share in 2015.
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25. What did you want and get?
On January 1, I wrote on Instagram that I wanted Adventure for 2015. Between Boston and San Francisco and Seattle (three times!) and helping someone move to LA, and falling in love, I’d say my year was full of adventure.

26. What did you want and not get?
I wanted to go to NYC, but I just couldn’t find a free weekend to sneak away.

27. What was your favorite film of 2015?
The Force Awakens, of course.
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28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34. The night before my birthday, my friend Jason came over for dinner and took some really nice pictures of me. As a photographer, I almost never have pictures of myself, so this was really great.
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Photos by Jason Michael Hammond Photography.

On my actual birthday, I headed to Disneyland. I met up with some friends. I got separated from my group. I ran in to other friends. I drank Fun Wheels. I watched Fantasmic! I watched the Fireworks. I got VIP seats for the Paint the Night parade. I stayed from park opening to park closing. It was a blast.
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I got separated from my group, but I still had fun.

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Birthday Sunset.

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Birthday full moon.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I’d actually say this year was pretty great. I wouldn’t change a thing!

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015
Fangirl Chic? I somehow ended up with a lot of fun skirts.
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31. What kept you sane?
Jessica Fox. Susan. Fun Wheels.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Let’s not get into politics here.

33. Who did you miss?
For the first year in forever, I didn’t get to have dinner with Melissa on the roof of her amazing apartment building.
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As much as I miss those NYC views, I miss Melissa more. 

34. Who was the best new person you met?
Michael, duh.
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But I’m going to go ahead and say that Josh, Corrine, and John Denver were close seconds.
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35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
I didn’t realize how hard it is to live alone. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how much I’m actually capable of. There was one afternoon where I had just finished painting my walls, and I sat down on the drop cloth with leftover pizza and a beer. I had never in my life felt more independent.
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36. Show us one of your favorite photos from the year.
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2015 was definitely the year of the Fun Wheel.

 

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Good Riddance to 2014.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I drove across the country. In my car. By myself (mostly). I’m still pretty shocked I did that.

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My Connecticut car in Huntington Beach.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
On December 30 2013, R’s dad threatened me and told me I was no longer welcome in their family. On January 1 2014, I knew I would need to leave CT for my own safety (and sanity). I told myself I would have it figured out by October, and on October 14th I was offered a job in California. So, while I didn’t exactly make an official resolution, I set a goal on New Year’s day and followed through with it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My aunt (she’s a year older than me), Miellyn (although we didn’t really get close until this summer), and my BFF is currently pregnant (due in a few weeks!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, yes. My aunt passed away the day I was asked to come to California for a job interview. I couldn’t tell R or my job why I needed to travel to CA, so I feel like even in her death my aunt was protecting me. So lame, I know, but just interesting how the timing worked out.

Also, my dear friend’s brother passed away a few days before Christmas.

5. Where did you travel?
Well, I drove across the country, so I went through several states and knocked a few things off the old bucket list (Grand Canyon, Four Corners). I also went to Orlando in February, Atlanta in March, PAX East (Boston) in April, and California in September for my cousin’s wedding (and October for the interview)

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My route (more or less)

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?
Honestly, 2014 was so painful and stressful, I’m just happy to be heading out of it. I’d like another tattoo, does that count? I’m also planning an international trip for the fall…stay tuned!

7. What days from 2014 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 21: The day I took (and passed!) the AFAA Group Ex test
October 14: The day I was offered the job and broke up with R.
November 13: The day I left Norwalk CT for good
November 29: The day I arrived back in California

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I still can’t believe I got a job in California while living in Connecticut and keeping it a secret from virtually everyone.

Also, getting my AFFA Group Ex certificacte, which was my backup plan to get me out of Connecticut.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Is it ok to say R? I believe everything happens for a reason, but I’m still having a hard time figuring out what the point was for me to need to be on the East Coast for so long when I just ended up back here.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had chronic tendinitis in my ankle, which is common in group exercise instructors. I had panic attacks for most of the year thanks to R’s folks. But other than that nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I moved all of my shit from CT to CA and that was pretty great but also expensive.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Melissa. She invited me to stay with her several times this year, fed me tea and wine, prayed for me, listened to me, comforted me.

Cheryl. My mentor at my last job who taught me everything I needed to get the new job. She gave me life advice and work advice and kept my looking-for-a-new-job secret, even from her husband.

Sarah Sq., Sarah Sh., Sarah M for listening to me and not judging me and being patient while I figured things out. And Brooke for the same reasons but also for the buddy pass to get me to and from the interview.

Miellyn. She’s a friend I met indirectly through R, but has been one of the greatest friends I could ask for. I spent my birthday with her and stayed with her for three days at the beginning of my trip. In all honesty, if the entire reason I needed to spend 5 years wasting away on the east coast was to meet her, then it was worth it.

And of course my parents who planned a trip to CT to help me move out before I even knew I would be moving out and also helped to fund the move.

13. Whose behavior didn’t merit celebration?
R’s parents. But mostly his father. And R himself for letting his dad say some really horrible things to me.

14. Where did most your money go?
Most of my money went to the big moving adventure – from the movers themselves to the gas stations and the hotels and all of the adventures on the road.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The first thing I was really excited about was Disneyworld/Wizarding World of Harry Potter in February, followed by PAX in April, and then finally getting to move back home in October/November

16. What songs will always remind you of 2014?
Hm. I’m not really sure actually. Can Serial count as a song? My original plan was to listen to one episode a day during my drive, but I ended up listening to the first four episodes between NYC and Baltimore. Also, how creepy/weird/awesome was it to drive through Baltimore while listening to Serial?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) definitely happier
b) about the same, actually (hooray for teaching fitness classes)
c) right now? Poorer because I haven’t gotten a paycheck since I quit my job in October. And also I’ve maxed out my credit cards in the move. But in a few weeks I’ll be back in the black.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Honestly, I wish I took more photos on my cross country trip. And spent more time sightseeing through some of the cities I was passing through. My original plan was to have ice cream in every state, but once I was on the road I just wanted to get to my next destination ASAP.

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One of my favorite photos of the trip. Eventually I’ll write about it.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying. I know that the timing for the move was just perfect, but I spent nearly every day in tears until October 14.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We went to the beach on Christmas Eve and watched the sunset. It was 70 degrees.

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Christmas Day we had a lazy morning at my parents’ house, and then went to see Into the Woods with my cousins at Downtown Disney. We snuck in wine and cheese. It was great.

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We’re rebels. 

21. Did you fall in love with 2014?
NO.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I never missed an episode of Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD, and DWTS.

23. What was the best book you read?
Reading in general got put on the backburner once I started the big move. I’ve been trying to read Dance with Dragons for more than a year, but I keep getting stuck in boring chapters (I’m looking at you, Danerys). I loved Gone Girl, Hyperbole and a Half, and Timebound.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I didn’t really discover any new music, but in Nashville, my brother and I recorded a record together in a little music booth. It was fun

25. What did you want and get?
I wanted to move back to California.

26. What did you want and not get?
I wanted R to stand up to his parents on my behalf.

27. What was your favorite film of 2014?
I didn’t see a lot of movies this year, but I did see Mockingjay in a fun little movie theater in Austin, and that was pretty cool.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33. R took me down to see the Angels play in Baltimore. The next day we went to Miellyn and Shaun’s house for dinner (the best Thai food I’ve had in my life), beer, and tabletop games. It was perfect.

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29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
See number 26. But that didn’t happen, so I got to move home, which was perfectly satisfying.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?
I wore a lot of gym clothes because I was teaching a lot of fitness classes. And Nadia Tarr / Butter dresses. They’re the closest I can get to wearing pajamas in public and I love them.

31. What kept you sane?
Honestly? I have no idea. I remember counting down the weeks until October and just focusing on how short that was.

Also, a lot of wine.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in the world right now. I sort of lost touch with reality once the big move was put in motion. Also, I don’t like to talk about politics.

33. Who did you miss?
Miellyn and Shaun. Melissa. My students at the gym. And NYC. I know that’s not a “who”, but NYC is pure magic.

34. Who was the best new person you met?
I don’t think I met a lot of new people this year – but I have a handful of people I got closer to and reconnected with.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Not really a lesson, but the last day at my job, a dear coworker and friend said this:

BetterVersionOfYourself

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“It’s a comfort to know / When you’re singing the hit the road blues / That anywhere else you could possibly go /after New York would be a pleasure cruise” -Santa Fe (Rent, Jonathan Larson)

Also, not a song lyric, but this passage is quite fitting:

WhyDoYouGoAway